Periodontal pockets are filled with disease causing bacteria, tartar (calculus), and debris. These potent sources of infection keep the gum pocket inflamed and ulcerated, “opening the door” for the bacteria to enter the bloodstream and penetrate the deeper supporting tissues (the bone). Once it has penetrated the ulcerated lining of the pocket, it has both local and systemic effects. Locally it destroys the bone that holds our teeth in place.
Systemically, many research studies done at major universities including Harvard have shown that periodontal disease has been linked to increased incidence heart disease, stroke, pancreatic cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scaling and root planing helps decrease periodontal infection. Scaling and root planing meticulously cleans the pocket bacteria and removes of much of the tartar from the root surfaces. This establishes a clean environment allowing early healing and repair, and, in some instances, may be all that is necessary to resolve the shallow pockets. In more advanced situations, it will often reduce the scope of treatment necessary to repair the damaged tissue.
To ensure your comfort, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) analgesia, topical numbing solutions, and/or local anesthesia can be used with this procedure.
Discomfort following scaling and root planing is rare. However, in some cases a mild analgesia such as aspirin, Tylenol or Advil (ibuprophen) may be necessary the evening of or the day after the procedure.